Individuality Shines Bright at The Trans List Premiere

From director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, The Trans List highlights the stories and experiences of 11 transgender individuals from diverse backgrounds. The documentary emphasizes the uniqueness of its subjects and the challenges faced by trans people today. Here are some of the key messages the film’s subjects sought to impart.

Visibility is critical for progress.

Kylar Broadus: I always think it’s important to be visible. That’s what I’ve done since the beginning of time, because I was one of the first people out in the country. I thought it was important then and I still think it’s important because it empowers people to be out and proud. And it lets other people know that we’re here and we’ve always been here, and we’re not going anywhere.

Trans people still face significant challenges.

Bamby Salcedo: There has definitely been more visibility of trans people and people who are like me, but unfortunately the social conditions and the social factors that we continue to experience have not changed. I think in order for us to change the livelihood of trans people, particularly trans women of color, we need to intentionally invest in providing basic needs, such as housing, such as food, transportation, education, employment. All of those things that are essential for people’s survival. When we do that, we are going to see the transformation of our community.

Trans does not mean just one thing.

Janet Mock, producer and interviewer: I think one of the biggest intentions for me was to ensure that I broke up the idea that trans communities are a monolith. I came up with a list of people that personally impacted me, people who were first, people that did landmark cases, people who trail-blazed in some way, and then I thought about age, I thought about location, I thought about race, gender presentation, expression, and we kind of tried to create this puzzle piece that made it as diverse as possible to show the array of trans experiences.

Nicole Maines: Being transgender is not something that can be generalized. No one fits a particular profile. This film has shown so many different forms of identity and so many different stories, it is a visual representation of gender as a spectrum and as an experience.

Kylar Broadus: Well I feel this film shows the complexity of trans people, showing how different we are. We’re not all cookie cutter, we’re not all the same; we’re as complex as everybody else is in the universe.

People will leave the film with empathy for the trans community.

Buck Angel: I really hope people are gonna walk away with more understanding, a humanization and a normalization of transgender people. People don’t understand us -- of course they don’t! And in no way do I fault people out there. It is our job to educate the world, so what they’re gonna walk away with is a complete and total understanding of what it means to be a transgender person, which is a human being.

Shane Ortega: I hope people take away a more empathetic view. To be quite frank, we’re all human beings and empathy is the number-one thing that binds us all; and if more people could understand and feel, then we would have a much more peaceful and cohesive world.

Kylar Broadus: Well I hope that they take away love and compassion. That every human being deserves to live, that every human being deserves to live their life the way they choose, and that every human being deserves to walk the earth.